Author Topic: Polite way of saying "Please don't delegate that job to her"?  (Read 5028 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

GreenEyedHawk

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2141
  • Not hot but SPICY
    • My Facebook.  Feel free to add me!
Polite way of saying "Please don't delegate that job to her"?
« on: September 02, 2014, 12:52:25 AM »
Quick backstory.   I build widgets for a living, some big and complex with a lot of parts.  I generally get the order for the 6" widgets in batches of 20 so I pick parts from the warehouse for 20 at a time.  I like my parts cart organized a really specific way because it allows me to be more efficient.  I organize my parts as I take them from the shelves so it doesn't add any significant delays to the time I spend picking parts.

The players in this case are Mary, a shop hand, Jamie, a supervisor, and me.

I got an order for 20 more widgets just as I was finishing the last widget from the last order.  So, my carts were empty and I had to get parts for 20 more 6" widgets.  Jamie, thinking to speed the process up, delegated this task to Mary.  Mary has never built these widgets so she was referring to a book (which we jokingly call "the bible" because it "has all the answers") that shows drawings of the widgets, how they are assembled and what parts they need, along with their part numbers and quantities.  For this task, I seldom use the book because I already know.  Mary needed the book, which slowed her down a lot as she kept going back to it, rechecking, losing her place, etc.  Then she put the parts on the carts "wrong".  (by this I mean they weren't wrong, just they weren't how I would do them) and she pulled some parts that we don't actually pull til the  very end, when we're ready to use them.  When I tried to tell her "We don't pull the flanges out of the crates til the very end so you can just leave them there," she argued, "Well Jamie said to pull the parts in the book for these widgets!"  I told her, "I know what Jamie said, but I'm just clarifying for you since you've never done these and might not know.  The flanges are listed in the book because they are part of the widget and need to be there; but in the practical process, we don't pull them out of the crates til the end, to make sure nothing's damaged."  She completely ignored me and pulled the flanges, thus commandeering 5 parts carts when it should have only taken 2.  I also know that Jamie would never tell her to pull those parts; he just has an irksome habit of forgetting that not everyone "just knows" like him and I do, so he sometimes forgets those kinds of details in his instructions.

Then I lost a bunch of time rearranging the parts on my cart, because she had them set up in such a way that I couldn't reach the smaller stuff without knocking over the bigger things.  I tried to just use the parts the way they were, but I was losing so much time having to walk around the cart to reach stuff that was in the wrong spot, etc.  It was very inefficient so after the first widget was build, I re-organised everything.  Plus, I kind of feel like if you want something done as specifically as I like my cart organised, you should really do it yourself.

Now I need to find a diplomatic way to relate what happened, Mary arguing with me (I'm a supervisor as well, just not hers.  Jamie is hers.) and how much time I lost re-organising everything.  I want to tell him to just let me get my own parts from the warehouse and to just in general stop delegating things to Mary.  I get that he's trying to help; he and I are the only ones who build these widgets and right now he is injured, so the whole load is on me.  I appreciate for sure that he is trying to make things easier for me, but it's really just costing me time and frustration because she won't listen to me...I suppose she doesn't have to as I'm not her supervisor but I still have seniority (for one) and this is my department and my parts she's getting into now. (for another) .  I don't think a reprimand or anything is necessary (though I wouldn't mind if Jamie reminded her that she also has to listen to me) but I just want him to stop delegating this stuff to her.  It saves me no time. 

I don't want to hurt Jamie's feelings because I know he's really desperate to help me out and he feels badly about his injury, which means he can't do any building right now, but delegating anything to Mary is just a giant waste of time.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2014, 01:20:54 AM by GreenEyedHawk »
"After all this time?"
"Always."

WolfWay

  • They burnt down my house... They ate my tailor!
  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2536
Re: Polite way of saying "Please don't delegate that job to her"?
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2014, 01:39:55 AM »
I'm a very blunt person, so I've been known to tell a manager that "If you give step X of this project to Tim, it's going to be late. Just a heads up you'll need to keep an eye on his progress and chase him through the process" (and yes, even with manager chasing Tim daily, it was still late).  I refuse to cover for other people's laziness/incompetance. If the person can't do their job, then I have no problem bluntly laying that issue right back at their door.

I'd simply say "Hey, I just wanted to let you know that involving Mary in this just makes even more work for me in the long run. I've got this thing down to a streamlined routine and when she rearranges all the equipment to do things her own way, it takes me twice as long to do anything my way. Can you just give the stuff directly to me, so I can do it all myself? It'll end up being less work for me in total that way."
It's best to love your family as you would a Siberian Tiger - from a distance, preferably separated by bars . -- Pearls Before Swine (16-May-2009)

greencat

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2559
Re: Polite way of saying "Please don't delegate that job to her"?
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2014, 02:14:10 AM »
"Jamie,

When you assigned Mary the task of pulling the parts for the 6" widgets, she followed your instructions to the letter and pulled all the parts, including the flanges that we normally don't pull until the end, ignoring my directions not to do so.  Dealing with both the excess parts and the disorder of the carts due to Mary's inexperience with these widgets delayed my work.  In the future, I would prefer to pull all my parts for these widgets myself to avoid these problems."

As far as her not following your instructions: she followed her own supervisor's orders to the letter, and she may not have been comfortable sticking her neck out to alter those orders on your say-so.  I have fairly specific instructions at my job that I do not answer to anyone but the management staff in my direct chain of command - my boss, her boss, and the director.  While there are many other staff members who may request, politely, that I do certain tasks for them, unless those tasks are part of my normal job duties, I am not obligated to do them, and in fact I will frequently respond with "Let me check with my boss if I'm supposed to do that" or "My boss told me to do this other, conflicting, thing," if I know I'm not supposed to do whatever the task is.

In other words, you may need to cut Mary some slack and work with Jamie to give her some extra training on how to respond to widget orders from you - it may end up that after the training, you will indeed be able to delegate the task to her and save some time.

An alternative ending sentence:
"In the future, I would like to work with you to train Mary to properly fulfill my widget orders."

PastryGoddess

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4870
    • My Image Portfolio and Store
Re: Polite way of saying "Please don't delegate that job to her"?
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2014, 04:25:18 AM »
Jaime is Mary's boss and ultimately she reports to him.  I don't blame her for following her boss' instructions. 

The problem is not with Mary, it's with Jaime.  You can either tell Jaime, straight up, "don't delegate that task to Mary" or you can tell him that she needs to defer to your instructions on how to pull jobs.  But I don't think it's fair to get upset with Mary for following instructions given to her by her boss. 

thunderroad

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 197
Re: Polite way of saying "Please don't delegate that job to her"?
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2014, 07:19:09 AM »
Jaime is Mary's boss and ultimately she reports to him.  I don't blame her for following her boss' instructions. 

The problem is not with Mary, it's with Jaime.  You can either tell Jaime, straight up, "don't delegate that task to Mary" or you can tell him that she needs to defer to your instructions on how to pull jobs.  But I don't think it's fair to get upset with Mary for following instructions given to her by her boss.

I would actually disagree with this.  Jamie gave her the original instructions, but Mary was doing the task for Pastry Goddess--who is also a supervisor, and was offering common sense information about the tasks.  Mary should have followed those instructions.

If I am working with a support person from another team who is assigned to help me, and who says, my boss has me do X task in Y manner, I expect them to comply when I say, fine, but I want it done in Z manner.  It is my project, and that is what counts. 

I think it is fine to describe what happened to Jamie and to say, you should first, explain to Mary that there are some practical aspects that are not covered by the manual that are learned from experience, and second, it is important to be open to instructions from others in the company with seniority and experience.  If Mary thought there was a problem, she could have sought clarification from Jamie rather than perform the task in a way that was not helpful. 

camlan

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8640
Re: Polite way of saying "Please don't delegate that job to her"?
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2014, 07:40:03 AM »
Since you and Jamie are both supervisors and therefore equals? I'd be pretty blunt.

"Jamie, Mary needs way more training before she pulls parts for Widget X for me. [Details about pulling flanges] [Details about cart set-up] [Details about lost time] So, for the short term, either I pull the parts or Sam pulls the parts [assuming that there is someone who can do this]. If you'd like me to train Mary, I'd be happy to."
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


TootsNYC

  • A Pillar of the Forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 30848
Re: Polite way of saying "Please don't delegate that job to her"?
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2014, 09:37:43 AM »
Since you and Jamie are both supervisors and therefore equals? I'd be pretty blunt.

"Jamie, Mary needs way more training before she pulls parts for Widget X for me. [Details about pulling flanges] [Details about cart set-up] [Details about lost time] So, for the short term, either I pull the parts or Sam pulls the parts [assuming that there is someone who can do this]. If you'd like me to train Mary, I'd be happy to."

I agree with this. Perhaps add, "Please tell Mary that she is supposed to listen to me and follow my instructions." But I'd also say to Mary, "when you are pulling a cart for -me-, you need to follow -my- instructions, no matter what Jamie says. This is true for any situation like this, where you're following your boss's instructions to help someone else. The 'someone else' overrides your boss.
    "Now, let me explain why it matters to do things this way, and put them here on the cart. It's like a surgeon and a nurse--the surgeon wants her scalpel in exactly the right spot so no time is wasted fumbling."

PastryGoddess

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4870
    • My Image Portfolio and Store
Re: Polite way of saying "Please don't delegate that job to her"?
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2014, 09:44:46 AM »
Jaime is Mary's boss and ultimately she reports to him.  I don't blame her for following her boss' instructions. 

The problem is not with Mary, it's with Jaime.  You can either tell Jaime, straight up, "don't delegate that task to Mary" or you can tell him that she needs to defer to your instructions on how to pull jobs.  But I don't think it's fair to get upset with Mary for following instructions given to her by her boss.

I would actually disagree with this.  Jamie gave her the original instructions, but Mary was doing the task for Pastry Goddess--who is also a supervisor, and was offering common sense information about the tasks.  Mary should have followed those instructions.

If I am working with a support person from another team who is assigned to help me, and who says, my boss has me do X task in Y manner, I expect them to comply when I say, fine, but I want it done in Z manner.  It is my project, and that is what counts. 

I think it is fine to describe what happened to Jamie and to say, you should first, explain to Mary that there are some practical aspects that are not covered by the manual that are learned from experience, and second, it is important to be open to instructions from others in the company with seniority and experience.  If Mary thought there was a problem, she could have sought clarification from Jamie rather than perform the task in a way that was not helpful. 

I'm not the OP :)  and I don't disagree with what others are saying in how to bring it up with Jaime. 

Mary was not wrong in following the instructions given to her by her boss.  Especially with an unfamiliar task.

As an employee, if I get two conflicting pieces of information on how to complete a task, I go with how my supervisor tells me to do it.  Ultimately, they are the ones who are responsible for my continued employment and performance reviews.  Now if it were me, I'd go back to my supervisor and bring this up with them and ask how they want me to handle it going forward.  But initially, I do it the way my boss tells me to. 

pierrotlunaire0

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4253
  • I'm the cat's aunt!
Re: Polite way of saying "Please don't delegate that job to her"?
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2014, 09:59:14 AM »
Jamie, I know you are trying to help me by having Mary pull the parts, but right now, she needs more training to be efficient at it.  And since I am trying to be as efficient as possible, I don't really have the time now to train her.  I would prefer to pull my own parts and set up my cart for the time being.  When the crunch is over, I can devote more time to training her.
I have enough lithium in my medicine cabinet to power three cars across a sizeable desert.  Which makes me officially...Three Cars Crazy

Bast

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 83
Re: Polite way of saying "Please don't delegate that job to her"?
« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2014, 10:05:46 AM »
Jaime, thanks for having Mary pull the parts for me the other day, but in the future I'd prefer to pull my own.  It's easier that way, because I'm very particular about how I want my carts to be set up.  It will just save everybody time and frustration in the long run.

Really, I'd leave specifics out of it.  There could always be a second conversation about how she refused to listen to your instructions at a later time, or if he asks you just why you don't want her to help.
"They may forget your name but they will never forget how you made them feel." ~Maya Angelou

spookycatlady

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 420
Re: Polite way of saying "Please don't delegate that job to her"?
« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2014, 10:19:43 AM »
I was writing something out and then I just realized that Bast's suggestion is what I'd recommend.

If there's a next time, ask Jamie to remind Mary to follow your lead if she's delegated to work on something for you.

Hmmmmm

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6563
Re: Polite way of saying "Please don't delegate that job to her"?
« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2014, 10:24:50 AM »
I have no patience and dealing with new untrained employees is frustrating for me when I just want to get the job done. But I have to remember that everyone needs a chance to learn and the only way to learn in many cases is to do. And although Mary is not your employee, you are a supervisor and in my opinion obligates you to assist with assuring all employees get the opportunity to learn.

If pulling parts is part of a shop hands role and Jamie supervises shop hands, then I don't think you can ask him to not assign Mary to your jobs unless there are several occurrences of poor performance. Instead I think you owe Jamie valid feedback so he can better train Mary into becoming a valuable resource.

"Jamie, Mary pulled equipment for this work order. I wanted to give you some feedback so you can enhance her training. 1) I think she needs more training on the parts and locations of the parts to speed up her activities. She repeatedly got confused and lost her place. 2) She pulled the flinges because they were listed in the book. When I explained they weren't needed to the end she dismissed me and said you had told her to follow the book. I think you ned to speak to her about taking feedback from our team as she is doing the job. 3) The order she arranged the parts on the carts was not the optimal way. I'd like to offer to work with her on how she should be arranging the parts. Actually I think it might be beneficial for her to spend some time with me watching how we assemble as it might make it clearer to her on why part placement order is so critical to us.

lady_disdain

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5905
    • Contemporary Jewelry
Re: Polite way of saying "Please don't delegate that job to her"?
« Reply #12 on: September 02, 2014, 10:29:36 AM »
I would ask Jaime to talk to Mary on how to make the task more efficient for the widget builders:

- Organize the carts in the order they specify, since they know how the parts will be required
- Follow their directions
- If their directions go against what I told you, contact me right away (I would never ask an employer to go against the orders they received from a peer of mine)

Also, has she ever seen the widgets being assembled? If not, it might be helpful if she spent an hour or so with you or one of your employees. Visualizing how the parts will be used will help her understand why organizing the cart is important and seeing her part in the entire process is usually helpful to get people working together.

SamiHami

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3274
  • No! Iz mai catnip! You no can haz! YOU NO CAN HAZ!
Re: Polite way of saying "Please don't delegate that job to her"?
« Reply #13 on: September 02, 2014, 10:31:21 AM »
So Mary is new and is trying to learn her new job and is being given conflicting information from her supervisor and from another person. I feel pretty bad for her. Instead of being down on Mary, you should be talking to Jamie about clarifying the process for her so she learns how to do it correctly in the future, including listening to you when you say you want it done a certain way.

We were all new at our jobs once. It takes time to learn. Mary may well turn out to be a wonderful shop hand once she is fully trained.

What have you got? Is it food? Is it for me? I want it whatever it is!

Lynn2000

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5367
Re: Polite way of saying "Please don't delegate that job to her"?
« Reply #14 on: September 02, 2014, 10:45:16 AM »
I agree with Hmmmmm and lady_disdain's approach. While it might be easier for you in the short term to just do it yourself, if this is a reasonable part of Mary's job, what she actually needs to training on how to do it better--not just for you but for anyone else in a similar situation.

So, I would think about what would be reasonable in your company and phrase it to Jamie as feedback. It sounds like she wasn't familiar with either the parts themselves or the book they were listed in, so maybe she needs extra training with those things (like time to peruse the book and the warehouse so she recognizes the parts right away). Also it sounds like she needs some extra practical guidance, the stuff that isn't in the book. So maybe shadowing someone doing the real job or getting hands-on experience making something from a mentor.

Another aspect to mention to Jamie is the company culture for the chain of command--I don't blame Mary for doing what Jamie said despite the OP saying differently, if she didn't know alterations were acceptable. So Jamie should make it clear to her that when he puts her at the disposal of someone else, that someone's orders supersede his own. (Or whatever limits he wants to lay down.)
~Lynn2000